Saturday, January 21, 2006

Harper watch I

Check this out, from the Globe and Mail.

"Canadian voters have been led to believe that American conservatives are scary and if the Conservative Party can be linked with us, they can perhaps diminish a Conservative victory," Paul Weyrich, president of the Washington-based Free Congress Foundation, wrote Thursday in an e-mail forwarded to other conservative leaders.


Mr. Weyrich said in his e-mail that he had been called by Gerald Chipeur, a Calgary lawyer and outspoken backer of socially conservative causes, who said that Liberal-leaning news media in Canada were likely to phone U.S. right-wingers "in the hopes that someone will inadvertently say something that can be hung around the Conservatives."

Mr. Weyrich suggested to recipients of his message that "if the Canadian media calls, please do not be interviewed until Monday evening, at which point hopefully there will be reason to celebrate."

Mr. Weyrich, a veteran spokesman for the U.S. right, said in an interview he could not "verify" the e-mail. When it was suggested this was a non-denial denial, Mr. Weyrich snapped, "You can make of it whatever you wish."

Contacted in Calgary, Mr. Chipeur refused to comment on his contacts with Mr. Weyrich and hung up the phone.


Mr. Weyrich's e-mail was sent to an assistant who was asked to forward it to other right-wing groups. It made its way through two e-mail groups of right-wing sympathizers before landing at the New York Observer, which published it on its website.

Mr. Chipeur, a leader in the fight against same-sex marriage, backed Mr. Harper's 2004 leadership campaign and is Alberta chair of Republicans Abroad, a group that promotes the party among U.S. expatriates. Mr. Chipeur is a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen and attended the 2004 Republican national convention in New York.

Mr. Weyrich, 61, is a long-time conservative activist and commentator. In a column written in 2004, he argued that free speech was dead north of the border because it was "no longer permissible in Canada to preach that homosexuality is a deviant lifestyle. That is now hate speech. A minister or priest risks jail by preaching what is in the Scriptures."

"The culture has really collapsed there as it is about to collapse here," he warned, saying that if a liberal did not win the 2004 presidential election, as was the case, it could come in 2008.